Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The best getaway drivers in contemporary crime fiction

Nick Kolakowski’s work has appeared in The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, Thuglit, Shotgun Honey, North American Review, and Carrier Pigeon, among other venues.

His latest novel is Rattlesnake Rodeo.

Kolakowski lives in New York City.

At CrimeReads he tagged "five crime novels that explore the darker side of the American road, filled with anti-heroes looking for one last shot at fulfilling their dreams—if they can survive the next few miles." One title on the list:
Blacktop Wasteland, by S.A. Cosby

Beauregard “Bug” Montage is a skilled mechanic… and one heck of a getaway driver. As much as he wants to live a lawful existence, circumstances pull him back into the life of crime he worked so hard to escape. The forces arrayed against him are violent and awful, and require Bug to confront some of his deepest flaws—but the resulting car chases are exhilarating, pushing the limits of physics:

“’She flying now, Bug!’

“The Buick sailed off the overpass. It plummeted twenty-five feet like a stone. The trunk slammed into the pile of dirt, but the dirt helped to cushion their fall. The edge of the overpass rapidly receded from Beauregard’s vision as they fell. He braced himself by gripping the steering wheel and leaning back in his seat as hard as he could.”

Like Driver in Sallis’s novels, Bug doesn’t live a life anyone would envy, at least when he’s pursued by some of the worst villains ever to drift through a rural noir novel—but when he gets on the road, there’s transcendence in how he works the wheel, propelling tons of metal through the kinds of stunts that many a commuter might have fantasized about in a traffic jam.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Blacktop Wasteland is among Kia Abdullah's eight novels featuring co-conspirators.

--Marshal Zeringue